Publishing Options - Open Access
Open access (OA) refers to content that is accessible to anyone online at no charge and that may have relatively few restrictions on reuse.
The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a searchable database of thousands of scholarly and scientific open access journals.
The SHERPA/RoMEO database is a good starting point for researching publishers and journals that support open access.
OASIS provides comprehensive information about the theory and practice of open access.
Advancing Research and Scholarship
When you publish an article in a scholarly journal or serve as an editor or peer reviewer, your principal motivations are almost always to disseminate the results of your research, advance your career, and contribute to the public good.
Open access is an effective way to accomplish these goals. Open-access content reaches the broadest possible audience faster by eliminating the price and permission barriers of subscription-based journals. Scholars and researchers at institutions without journal subscriptions and interested individuals outside the academy have immediate access to your work. With a broader audience and no access delays, your research has the potential for the greatest impact.
Making Your Work Open Access
You can create open access to your work by:
Publishing in an open-access journal or with an open-access press
Examples of open-access publishers include Biomed Central, the Public Library of Science (PLoS), Open Humanities Press, and Athabasca Press.
Publishing in a hybrid journal
A number of publishers (including Elsevier and Springer) have responded to the open-access movement by offering a hybrid open-access option: authors publishing in some subscription-based journals can pay a fee to make their articles immediately available to nonsubscribers upon publication. However these publishers may limit how the article can be reused. Open-access advocate Peter Suber lists some questions to consider when evaluating hybrid journals.
Open Access Is Compatible with Peer Review
Open-access scholarly journals practice peer review just like subscription-based scholarly journals. The open-access business model does not call for any changes to the peer-review process.
Open Access Journals Can Have High Impact Factors
Open-access content is accepted by other scholars and researchers. The open-access journal PLoS Biology, for example, has one of the highest impact factors among life science journals. Studies have shown that open-access articles are cited at a higher rate than those with restricted access. See the Open Citation Project for a bibliography of studies on the effect of open access on citation impact.
Open-access Works Are Protected by Copyright
Open access is compatible with copyright law. Open-access publications are protected by copyright. As the holder of rights, you are making them available to a wider audience than those published using a subscription-based model. Whether or not you can include your publication in open-access initiatives depends on the terms of any publishing and copyright agreements you sign. Carefully read any publishing agreement before you sign it and negotiate with the publisher for the rights you need.
Retaining Your Copyright
If you are planning to include your work in an open-access repository, be sure you have retained the copyright, or that you have sufficient legal rights in your agreement with a publisher. Once you do make your work open access, you may also choose to permit readers to make certain constructive uses of it. Many advocates of open-access encourage authors to retain their copyright and to allow reuse of their work by others, as long as the authors are credited. Licenses such as those offered by Creative Commons allow you, if you retain your copyright, to designate levels of permitted uses of your work. If you transfer your copyright to the publisher, you will likely lose this option.
The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal instrument that modifies the publisher's agreement and allows you to keep key rights to your articles. The Author Addendum is a free resource developed by SPARC in partnership with Creative Commons and Science Commons, established non-profit organizations that offer a range of copyright options for many different creative endeavors.
Varieties of Open Access
Open access can refer both to content that is available on the Web at no cost, but has significant restrictions on reuse, and to content that is available at no charge and with fewer reuse restrictions.
Libre Open Access Peter Suber has suggested using the label "libre" to indicate open-access content that is available at no charge and has fewer restrictions on reuse than many scholarly publications. The content of many open-access scholarly journals is "libre."
Gratis Open Access Suber calls content that is freely available yet has significant reuse restrictions "gratis" open access. Reuse restrictions can apply to content in digital repositories. Most articles in PubMed Central, for example, are freely available to download and read, but to reproduce them for a classroom or share them with colleagues, you may have to get permission from the copyright owner. Though the default policy of the majority of subscription-based journals is to allow authors to archive their work, the stipulations on which version of the article may be archived, where the article may be archived, and how the author or others may reuse the material vary from publisher to publisher.
Paying for Open Access
Open-access content is distributed at no cost to the reader. Yet someone must pay for the services publishers provide. Though the conversation about how to pay for open-access publishing is ongoing, there are a few common economic models.
Grants or Institutional Support
Some open-access journals are funded via grants, institutional support, or other sources. The cost of institutional repositories is ordinarily borne by the sponsoring institution.
Other open-access publishers charge authors a publication fee for each article to cover the costs of managing peer review, copyediting, typesetting and XML markup, and hosting the content. There are a number of funding sources authors can use to pay these fees. The National Institutes of Health, for example, allows grant funds to be used to pay publication fees for open-access articles. You may also receive help from your university. Most journals will reduce or waive the publication fee for authors without adequate funds.
Some open-access publishers also request institutional help in the form of institutional memberships. In these arrangements, scholars and researchers at member universities receive a discount on the publication fees for their articles. Columbia is an institutional member of PLoS.
No-cost Institutional or Subject-based Repositories
Authors also have the no-cost option of archiving their articles in an institutional or subject-focused repository (known as "green OA"), but care needs to be taken that permission for this is granted by the publisher and that the permitted formats are the only ones deposited.